The Campfire

By Sue Selmer

Midnight on the remote rim of Hells Canyon
cold glitter sparkles thick and radiant overhead.
Constellations disappear into the extravagance
and the edge-on glow of our Milky Way pours across.

Spinning alone in unimaginable vastness
we stand witness to primordial planet earth.
It could be the dawn, or the end, of time.
A shiver grips, not just from the freezing air.

Then miles below in the depth of night
a speck of amber campfire along the river
reveals the presence of others of our kind
gathered there and keeping warm.

The campfire in the canyon compels our stare
pulling our gaze away
from the icy brilliance above
toward a kindling of connection.

To see the fire from a distance
is to hold the campsite sacred
and wonder if it’s the only hearth for life
as darkness crushes in.

Beyond fifty light-years away
in this sparsely starred region of our galaxy
our sun’s tiny golden spark
burning in its ring of precious rocks

fades from view.

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